Considering the shameful fact that I know nothing about loans, I am writing about a hotel I happened to stay in for two days and for which, had I not stayed for free, I would have needed to take out a loan.

Zoran Kesic

The topic of this week’s issue of Vicinity – indebtedness of citizens – is one of those topics that have a sedative-like effect on me.

I immediately fall asleep as soon as, due to my own error or the brutal insensitivity of my loved ones, I find myself in the middle of a story about bookkeeping, taxes, accounting, reliefs, fees, administration and – loans.

Many times I slept through my meetings with an accountant, and dozed off a few times at the bank in the middle of a conversation…

Writing this, I am fully aware that, by publicly declaring my complete ignorance of things that an adult must know, I have agreed to be labeled a fool, if we take the old saying ‘a wise man is ashamed of that of which a fool is proud’ as correct.

Considering the shameful fact that I know nothing about loans, I am writing about a hotel I happened to stay in for two days and for which, had I not stayed for free, I would have needed to take out a loan.

My wife and I were guests of a popular regional media festival, and our kind hosts accommodated us for two nights in a diamond-platinum high class A hotel.

I never liked hotels.

Everything related to hotels always seemed artificial, forced and sterile, smelled like room freshener and sounded like waiting room music.

Private accommodation on the seaside, a mountain house in the winter, and when I was younger even a tent and a sleeping bag – these have always been the ideals of good accommodation.

Hotels have always been for some other people.

More successful people, richer people, a group of people whom I will never really be a part of.

Often my wife and I, passing by that hotel in previous years, would ask ourselves – who are those people, staying in all that luxury?

Then, we recently realized that these people are us.

Of course, in a mixture of the people wandering the magnificent hotel corridors, enjoying the spa or pool, or using the conference room, it is difficult to figure out who is there because they belong to that world, and who is there because the festival hosts paid for their two night stay.

Nevertheless, I was able to recognize the basic characteristics of a rich human being.

Well looked after skin, their complexions slightly tanned, teeth healthy and white. In some cases, it even seems that there is a shade brighter than the usual 32.

Middle-aged and older women look much younger than their IDs would reveal.

And these are not conspicuous and irritating aesthetic procedures, but discreet tightenings and corrections, which, in tandem with workouts, swimming, massages, yoga and tanning beds, give the impression of dynamic people in their prime.

The men smell really well, their shirts are neatly ironed, and precisely because they don’t seem too expensive, they seem too expensive. Expensive watches are ubiquitous, because none of them seem to have a watch on their mobile phone for some reason.

For this occasion, I wore my precious 1987 Swatch, with a slightly frayed strap and pretty scratched plastic.

Old men especially impressed me – in their late seventies, they look like  Alain Delons at sixty-something.

They are smiling, their hair is white, their skin is dark and they have oysters and champagne for breakfast.

Wealth brings with it some difficult obligations, because while us, the intruders, enjoyed rich, colorful scrambled eggs, high class grandparents morning slurped oysters and sipped champagne at 9 in the morning.

Dressed in a bathrobe, waiting for the elevator to the pool on the roof, from which you can see a beautiful panorama of the magical city, I spot a wealthy dog.

He is thin, elegant, with an aristocratic disinterested look and a thick necklace that could be used as a prop in the movie ‘Cleopatra and Her Most Beautiful Necklaces’.

‘Oh, what a beautiful puppy,’ I lied, ‘what’s its name?’


‘Kabir, Kabir… come Kabir’, I started calling out to the dog, just to hear myself saying that beautiful and exotic name for the first time in my life.

The puppy ignored me with dignity, and the owner boasted that he really enjoys this hotel.

‘Come on, Kabir, let’s go.’

It is not possible, dear reader, to have dogs with ordinary names like Mile, Jackie, Spot, or Gara in a premium A golden class hotel.

Just like our room, otherwise beautiful, with a view of the garden and a bit of a sea view in the left corner, cannot be obtained without a deep pocket.

Let’s just say that one night (out of season) is more expensive than two average monthly salaries in Serbia, not to mention the full price in season.

And that’s why my wife and I are already planning to take out a loan for the next summer vacation.

We will be repaying three, four days at sea for years.

And we will rename our tame and cheerful pup Djole to… I don’t know… Agamemnon. Or Xerxes. Or the Caliph.

‘Caliph, Caliph… not the Ming vase, for God’s sake!’